À tout seigneur tout honneur


Jean-Baptiste Pocquelin is better known as Molière. He died on February 17, 1673. Playwright and actor, he lived his life half a step ahead of his creditors, despite having been born into an affluent family and having attracted the attention of wealthy patrons, including Louis XIV. His satiric plays are still alive and well in French classrooms and on the stage. Although he was educated by the Jesuits at a prestigious Parisian school, he ran afoul of the church with his writing. He died during a coughing fit due to tuberculosis while performing in his play Le Malade imaginaire (The hypochondriac). Brings new meaning to the term dramatic irony, doesn’t it? He wrote thirty-five plays in all, many of which survive.

Today’s expression, à tout seigneur tout honneur, (a too senyur toot honur) literally means “to all lords, all honor.” More simply, we’d say “honor to whom honor is due.” You may enjoy the 2007 French film Molière, starring Romain Duris and Fabrice Luchini, which honors a fine quality playwright.



The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and Other Plays

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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7 Responses to À tout seigneur tout honneur

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  7. Nemorino says:

    In Molière’s plays the maid always gets the best lines. https://operasandcycling.com/the-royal-opera-in-versailles/

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